Study Shows D-Ribose Increases Energy in Fibromyalgia and CFS Patients

Patient Expert

showed that daily consumption of the pentose carbohydrate D-ribose resulted in an average energy boost of 61% among patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Improvements were also noted in sleep, pain, mental clarity and overall well-being.

D-Ribose is a simple sugar that occurs naturally in the body and begins the metabolic process for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the primary energy source for all living cells.   According to the study's lead author Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, D-ribose provides the key building block for producing the "energy molecule" ATP in every cell. Notably, a 2008 study found ATP levels to be 80% higher in healthy vs. CFS patients.

Study Design and Results

This was a multicenter study involving 53 health care practitioners who enrolled a total of 257 patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. This was an open, unblinded study and subjects were allowed to continue their usual treatment protocols in addition to taking the D-ribose.

Treatment consisted of taking 5 grams of a D-ribose product called CorvalenTM three times a day for a three week period. Participants rated five FM/CFS symptoms-energy level, sleep quality, mental clarity, pain level and overall sense of well-being--a week before they began treatment and after one, two and three weeks of treatment.

Significant improvements were seen in all five symptoms evaluated after the first week. The improvement continued to increase through the second and third weeks of treatment. After three weeks, the average improvements were:

  • 61.3% increase in energy.

  • 37% increase in overall well-being.

  • 29% improvement in sleep.

  • 30% improvement in mental clarity.

  • 15.6% decrease in pain.

These findings confirmed results of an earlier pilot study involving 36 patients from a single medical center, who took D-ribose for an average of 25 days. Approximately 66% of the patients experienced significant improvement while on D-ribose, with an average increase in energy of 45% and an average improvement in overall well-being of 30%.

The purpose of the new study was to reconfirm the efficacy of D-ribose for improving the quality of life in energy-depleted patients diagnosed with FM and/or CFS, and to see if the results could be generalized to the FM and CFS community as a whole.

The researchers concluded, "Although it is important to do a randomized, placebo controlled trial with a longer treatment period, these two preliminary studies suggest that D-ribose may be a promising therapeutic option for patients with CFS and FM, offering a significant improvement in their quality of life."

My Thoughts...

I've been keeping my eye on D-ribose studies for awhile now and the results do seem to be impressive. As Dr. Teitelbaum noted in the paper, though, there were several limitations to the study including the fact that there was no placebo group, the diagnosis of FM and/or CFS by previous health care providers was accepted and not confirmed, the outcomes were subjective, and the length of the study was not long enough to determine maximum effects.

I do hope Dr. Teitlebaum and others will continue to study D-ribose as a treatment option for FM and CFS. It's a natural product with a good safety record and no significant adverse reactions. I'd certainly rather take a natural supplement as opposed to a prescription drug anytime. In fact, I'm seriously thinking about trying D-ribose. If I do, I'll let you know how it works for me.

If you have tried D-ribose for FM or CFS, please share how it worked for you, including how long you took or have been taking it, whether you noticed any side effects, etc.


Teitelbaum JE, et al. "Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia with D-ribose - An open-label, multicenter study." The Open Pain Journal. 2012, 5,32-37.

Bazzichi L, et al. "ATP, calcium and magnesium levels in platelets of patients with primary fibromyalgia." Clin Biochem. 2008 Sep;41(13):1084-90.

Teitelbaum JE, et al. "The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study." J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2006;12 (9):857-862.

"New Multicenter Study Shows D-Ribose Increases Energy 61% in CFS and Fibromyalgia Patients" PRNewswire. July 16, 2012.

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